In a bold move, the Nine Network released all seven episodes of Gallipoli on its half-owned streaming service Stan following the drama’s Monday night premiere on Nine.
And in another twist in the on-demand turf battle, EzyFlix.tv has started selling a season pass to Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul, which launched on Stan on Monday night.
Produced by Endemol Australia’s John Edwards, Imogen Banks and Rob Connolly and directed by Glendyn Ivin, Gallipoli follows 17-year-old Thomas “Tolly” Johnson ( Kodi Smit-McPhee) who lies about his age to join his brother Bevan in the Great War.
The cast includes Harry Greenwood, Lachy Hulme, Matt Nable, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Lincoln Lewis, James Callis, Grant Bowler, Anthony Hayes, Justine Clarke, Damon Gameau, Ashleigh Cummings, Gracie Gilbert, Dan Wyllie, Sam Parsonson, Tom Budge, John Bach, Nicholas Hope and James Stewart.
The premiere of Gallipoli drew 1.1 million viewers in the five capital cities and 1.51 million nationally, the night's second most watched program behind My Kitchen Rules' 1.65 million/2.41 million.
“Gallipoli truly is a landmark television event and we’re thrilled to make the complete seven-part drama available first on Stan, thanks to our partnership with Endemol and the Nine Network,” said Stan CEO Mike Sneesby.
Nick Forward, Stan’s Content and Product Director, said: “We have been working behind the scenes for a long time with Endemol and the Nine Network to make this possible. This is an important part of our strategy to bring original Australian productions to Stan.”
Other pay-TV executives applaud the initiative but some are dubious about how many people will be prepared to watch the show on portable devices. “Excellent move, this is the new normal,” said one executive.
Co-owned by Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media, Stan launched on Australia Day and is available on some smart TVs as well as PCs, tablets and iphones. It's free for 30 days and will then cost subscribers $10 per month.
The second episode of Better Call Saul airs on Stan at 6 pm on Tuesday, and thereafter will screen each Tuesday, express from the US.
EzyFlix.tv is selling a season pass to the Sony TV series starring Bob Odenkirk for $10 for all 10 episodes. Craig White, CEO of Access Digital Entertainment, which owns the VOD/EST service, is quick to compare the price differential with Stan.
“To watch the same content on Stan would cost $30 and take the same amount of time given it’s likely to be shown over 10 weeks," he said. “To deliver increased value and access to the hottest content for local consumers, we’re standing up to Stan and providing customers with a more appealing offer.”
White is unfazed by the late March entry of Netflix, observing, “Unlike Presto, Stan, Quickflix and Netflix to come, our service offers all of the latest and greatest new release movies from every major Hollywood studio to rent (transactional video-on-demand) or buy (download-to-own)."
Better Call Saul season one is also available on iTunes for $30.99 and on Google Play for $24.99.